Saturday, 3 May 2014

Where's Home?


Apologies for the break in writing, but as you know we were in Sydney.

My mind's been racing with Blog Ideas so watch out!

All that's needed now is the dedicated time to sit and compose them.

None will be lost as they are all noted on my phone in the MEMO section (along with shopping lists, TV shows and movies to watch, recommendations from friends for our proposed trip to Italy amongst other things)

When we first left Sydney, we would refer to a trip back as a trip 'home'. When it was time to leave Sydney and return to Dublin, we'd say 'we're flying home'. How confusing it was. We were home, but we were also returning home.

Where's home?

Home is where we our stuff is and we live our day to day lives.

For us, that's not been Sydney for a long time.

It's where we are from, but it's not home, not in the true sense. I doubt it will ever be home in that sense again, unless MissM goes to university there.

We visit Sydney, it's no holiday it's more like a long reunion. And that's not being disrespectful, it's a fact.

You may recall in my last blog I chatted about 'going home' and how most expats feel varying degrees of stress and excitement about a visit home (see, it's that word again)

Well, we had a Great Visit because we accepted and dealt with the stress before hand and acknowledged it was going to be more reunion than holiday. We  knew we could not see everyone as two weeks (G was with us for one) wasn't enough time and we were not going to spread ourselves thin.

We accomplished this with ease, and no guilt! From that perspective it was the best visit yet!

This trip was the first time (by choice) we didn't stay in a service apartment. We had a few nights with G's parents, then 2 nights at the Shangra-La Hotel (MissM already moved into my brothers); then we had Easter with my brother and SIL; G flew home (Dublin home), and MissM and I moved into mums - tho MissM had a sleepover at the H's @ Coogee, and then moved back to her grandparents before spending the final two nights with me @ Mums.

Schlepping around suitcases wasn't easy (everyone has stairs), and I don't enjoy living out of a suitcase either. We commented that no one offered us a wardrobe to hang anything up, or a shelf in a bathroom but hey, we managed.

It was great fun sharing breakfast with our families, and chillaxing doing normal every day stuff rather than running around town. MissM and CousinS spent hours by the fishpond creating fairy-like things, while we watched CousinJ surf at Manly Beach while sipping coffee'n'chatting with my brother.

Easter Sunday lunch was family only and lovely.

Catching up with small groups of friends was much more enjoyable than trying to keep up with larger groups as we've done in the past. We got to talk with people and really catch up.

It was simply lovely to hug a friend!

There are some things that will stay with me from this trip:

Meeting my newest cousin, she's just 5 months old was fantastic.

Watching our nephew surf at 7am was amazing.

Experiencing our niece dance was truly one of the most emotional things we've seen in a very long time. She was magnificent! I cried. When we got home, she asked me to help her with one of the intricate foot movements she was having trouble with and with my dance experience, I was able to do so. She conquered the move with my help. You've no idea how emotional that was for me.

Sitting'n'chatting with my god daughter on Coogee Beach while the sun set is something to treasure.

Even tho we were only with Mr&MrsH a short while ago, sitting with them by their pool having sausages for lunch was great!

Dinner with a few of my girls was lovely, as was lunch with another group of friends. Seeing Mr&MrsS was curious as we'd met in Dublin, they stayed with us in Yokohama, we'd stayed with them in Budapest, now they have repatriated to Sydney. We talked about Home, and how it felt, and they agreed - it's an odd concept.

While all this was great, there were many things that reminded me that we don't live there anymore. Time stands still for no one.

Our hire car didn't have a sat nav, G didn't think we'd need one. Well, he might not have, but I did. It was most unsettling not remembering how to get from point A to point B .... was it because I am older and maybe more forgetful? Is it because we have lived away for so long? Don't really care, just didn't like the feeling of not knowing my way around anymore. I'm from Sydney. I SHOULD KNOW.

My surprise at businesses that had closed down; my surprise at favourite places that are still operating.

My recollection of my love of Dare Expresso Milk (and telling MissM how much I drank while pregnant with her), and Mango Wiess Bars (and telling MissM how many of those I ate while pregnant). G's Twistie addiction. Fish'n'chips on Coogee Beach. Breakfast at Zigilini's.  Schnitzel at 21 in Double Bay with cremed spinach and cucumber salad brought back memories from my early 20's when friends would meet there after late night shopping or working, for the same meal.  HOME - all these signs telling me Sydney is HOME and confusing me even more.

G and I acted like complete tourists when we entered our room and saw the view of the Opera House from our window. I might have even said something stupid like 'it's just like the website picture'. It was ridiculous to feel so elated about seeing the Opera House so close but we did.

We're from Sydney but we don't live there anymore.

We're from Australia, but MissM doesn't know the sort of stuff her peers know, cos we don't live there anymore.

We're connected to so many friends, but we're not part of their lives on an intimate level anymore (nor are they ours), cos we don't live there.

It's something I thought I had come to terms with. But maybe not.

But we are home now, and MissM's at school, G's at work and my diary is filling up.

HOME is where we are together with our stuff and our day-to-day lives.

Sydney is where we are from, and I hope one day to call it home again, but for now, it's where we're from.

With friendship

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